Character of Sir Mohan Lal in Karma

Introduction: Sir Mohanlal is central character in Khushwant Singh’s Karma. Mohanlal’s character is the bundle of conflict. Khushwant Singh presented Sir Mohan Lal as the main character of ‘KARMA’ in an ironical way. We can evaluate his character in different opinions –

Number 1: Sir Mohan Lal’s character personality has been defined very closely by his wife Lady Mohan Lal. She thinks her husband is :-

Gentleman : Lady Mohan Lal thinks Mr. Lal is a man of high dignity as he meets “so many officers and Englishman in train”.

Barrister and Vizer : She regards Mr. LAL as an important government officer.

Englishman : Lady Mohan Lal considers her husband as English Man. She knows her husband can speak English and has an English style. He always loved to compare himself with English man and tried to get company with English people.

Lady Mohan Lal’s Opinion about Sir Mohan Lal is an assumption from the wife’s perspective. This is an ironical (unintentionally) view of Lady Mohan Lal about her husband.

Number 2: Khuswant Singh’s opinion on Sir Mohan Lal is very ambiguous. In the text he described himself as ” inefficient, dirty, indifferent“. Mohan Lal’s own opinion about himself is very Self-contradictory.

Once, he described himself as “distinguished, efficient” another time regarded himself as ” inefficient, dirty, indifferent“. He is so ambiguous character. He described himself in different ways: –inefficient vs Efficient, Distinguished vs Indifferent, Handsome vs Old Chap.

Mr Lal travels first class since he considers himself one of the English gentry who rides first first class. He overlooks his Indian origin and treats himself as one of the English.

Number 3 :From the reader’s perspective we can describe Sir Mohan Lal’s character as :

Proud: Sir Mohan Lal is a proud middle-aged man who was ashamed to be an Indian.

Prejudice: He is an admirer of England and English people than this own country and people. Every object of India is inefficient, dirty and indifferent to him.

Self contradictory: Sir Mohan Lal is a person of Self-contradictory faith in his own life and culture.

Issue of Identity: The author shows the concern with the issue of cultural identity with the character of Sir Mohan Lal. Mr. Lal yearns to leave his Indian origin behind and imitates the English as closely as possible.

Khushwant Singh presented Sir Mohan Lal as the main character of ‘KARMA’ in an ironical tone.

Conclusion: Mohan Lal is a middle-aged man who works in the British Raj. He is ashamed to be an Indian and hence he speaks in English and, rarely, in Anglicized Hindustani. Mohan Lal is an admirer of England and English people than this own country and people; ultimately he suffered at the hands of two English soldiers whom he admired so much. He lost his real identity as an Indian. He proved himself proud, prejudiced, Self-contradictory who is neither an English nor an Indian.

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